May 28, 2009
Only Republicans think it’s OK to charge admission to political debates
Only in the world of Republicans can a decision by a candidate to skip a so-called political debate where admission is charged can he earn their scorn.
Both the Michigan House and Senate canceled session on Thursday so lawmakers can attend the annual three-day Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce's Mackinac Policy Conference. Thursday evening an event called “The Great Gubernatorial Debate” moderated by “Off the Record’s” Tim Skubick was held.
Invited to participate were Republican gubernatorial candidates Sen. Tom George, Terri Lynn Land, Mike Cox and Peter Hoekstra, and Democratic candidates Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith and Lt. Gov. John Cherry.
Cherry decided to skip the debate because admission was being charged and it was a fundraiser. Over at the official unofficial GOP blog “Right” Michigan, they gave Cherry a hard time for skipping it, saying he “snubbed the event.”
I say good for him. Who the heck charges admission to a political debate? The tickets were $175 in advance and $200 at the door. Plus, Ann Arbor businessman Rick Snyder, a GOP candidate, was not even invited. The rightwing blog failed to mention that.
In the 14 years I have been a journalist and in politics. I have only heard of one other time where admission was charged for a political debate between candidates for elected office.
Last June the Livingston County Teen Age Republicans (TAR) sponsoring a candidate forum for the two open Michigan House seats and charged admission.